Sainsbury’s Goes Green: UK’s Largest Onshore Turbines to Power Up to a Third of Electricity
Sainsbury’s has made a commitment to purchase all the electricity generated by the newly inaugurated Longhill Burn Wind Farm.
This commitment spans the next 15 years and represents a significant financial investment in renewable electricity, amounting to millions of pounds.
The Longhill Burn Wind Farm boasts cutting-edge wind turbines, the largest and most powerful ones available onshore in the UK.
At full capacity, this wind farm can generate sufficient new-to-planet electricity to supply up to 33% of Sainsbury’s entire estate, including its stores, offices, and depots, contributing significantly to the company’s goal of achieving Net Zero in its own operations by 2035.
Construction of the Longhill Burn Wind Farm commenced in 2021 when Sainsbury’s entered into an agreement with Capital Dynamics, a renowned renewable energy investment manager, to purchase 100% of the electricity it produces.
Situated in West Lothian, the wind farm comprises eight state-of-the-art turbines, which were designed and delivered by Siemens Gamesa. These turbines are exceptionally tall, reaching over 200 meters at their highest point, with enormous 76-meter-long blades. Each turbine has a maximum output of 6-6.4MW.
Collectively, when all turbines are operating at their maximum capacity, they can supply enough electricity to meet up to 33% of Sainsbury’s electricity requirements.
Over a year, it is estimated that the wind farm will produce approximately 150,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity, equivalent to powering 300,000 60-watt lightbulbs continuously or sustaining the electricity needs of around 55,000 average UK homes.
This marks the seventh wind farm from which Sainsbury’s sources 100% of its energy, with an eighth site expected to become operational next year.
Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s Director of Property, Procurement, and EV Ventures, expressed the company’s pride in investing in this cutting-edge, sustainable wind power source, featuring the UK’s largest and most advanced onshore turbines. He emphasized that this investment is a significant step towards reducing Sainsbury’s carbon footprint.
Sainsbury’s was a pioneer in the UK retail sector when it began directly purchasing wind power for its estate in 2008. The commitment to the Longhill Burn Wind Farm reinforces the company’s track record of investing in sustainable technologies, as it played a pivotal role in enabling the wind farm’s construction and ensuring its long-term viability.
The project was developed in partnership with Energiekontor AG, which managed the wind farm’s construction and will oversee its day-to-day performance and maintenance. Capital Dynamics and Energiekontor, with their extensive operations management experience, will contribute to Longhill Burn’s success.
Since the end of 2021, Sainsbury’s has transitioned to using 100% renewable electricity across its estate, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels significantly. This transition is made possible through a combination of long-term renewable energy purchases from new wind farms and solar projects, supply agreements with independent UK wind generators, and the acquisition of renewable electricity certificates and Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs).